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Retourner sa veste? Would we be safer in Mexico? State of Emergency in France


Jean-Marc with friends who came to visit, yesterday. That is little Céline and Raphael, and Laurence (wearing the hat. Her father was best friends with Jean-Marc's father.)

TODAY'S WORD: retourner sa veste

    : to change sides (politically, etc), to go over to the other side

ECOUTER- Listen to Jean-Marc read the following French words:
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Changer de camp ou d'opinion par intérêt et non en vertu de principes moraux, afin de saisir une occasion ou d'échapper à une menace.
To change camp or opinion by self interest and not by virtue of moral principals, in order to seize an occasion or avoid a threat.

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    by Kristi Espinasse

On Tuesday Jean-Marc and I cut through a Mediterranean pine forest for a walk along the craggy coastline near Bandol. As waves of saltwater slammed against the ochre-red cliff across the bay, we were struck by a not-so-new reality. We just hadn't spoken about it yet.

"I read in three different newspapers this morning that France is on the verge of a civil war. Don't you think the press is sensationalizing things?" Finishing my sentence, I fully expected my husband to brush off such fears. But he did not answer right away.

"I didn't want to admit this--but there are 10,000 terror suspects on the watch list in France. And if they all activated at once...." Jean-Marc did not need to finish his sentence. Instead my mind carried on with a scary string of images. I remembered one of the articles which reported certain Southern French countrymen (truffle farmers?) were, in response to the threat, stocking up on hunting rifles in recent weeks. I recalled the one Jean-Marc bought last year. I didn't know how to use it. Would I use it? Would he?

Such a scenario was surreal. Or was it "sur" "real" -- "on" to reality? If we are not to live in denial, are we to be coming up with a plan?

"We could move to Colorado." Jean-Marc offered, with a half-smile (so he was kidding? right?). But how much safer was Colorado--given the news of civil unrest in America?

"We could go to Mexico." Almost as soon as I said it, I could hear a collective Booooo! (Coming from where? My conscience? Or from you, dear reader. Was that you who just bood? Maybe you overheard me bragging, recently--proud to tell others I have lived more than half my life in France (did that make me more French than American? Or just horribly smug? or, worse, unpatriotic?)

After pride comes The Fall. As those salty waves, below, continued to crash against the cliff, I looked over at the Frenchman walking beside me, and I thought about my would-be plan: You cannot take all the good that a country has to offer --and then abandon ship when the going gets tough! You cannot be an expat expat!

But I have never been an expat. A foreigner in France, yes. A resident, yes. An alien, often! An immigrant, by definition. An expat? Not in the sense of being unpatriotic! But I would feel like an ex-patriot if I left France during her time of trouble.

During France's current state of emergency, I will not, as the French say, retourner ma veste. I will not skip back and forth to whichever country benefits me at the moment. But I cannot lie, I am tempted to. If it means finding refuge.

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Just two of the perks France has to offer. Jean-Marc, with 8-year-old, Celine, who was decorating Chief Grape, with the help of the blue ribbon that came on the box of cake she and her family brought us. I leave you with this tender image, and thanks for reading.

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I got the floral-embroidered top in Mexico. (You can get one by clicking here).Jean-Marc got the pretty satin headband in France, remember? Not sure where Laurence got her hat, but you can buy one - click here and scroll down the page.

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